- Brandon Chatmon, ESPN Staff Writer
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As national signing day approaches on Feb. 1, Brandon Chatmon is breaking down every commitment and signee in the Sooners' 2012 recruiting class. View all of our profiles here.
Name: Sterling Shepard
Height, Weight: 5-foot-10, 185 pounds
Hometown/School: Oklahoma City, Okla./Heritage Hall
Committed: Feb. 28, 2011
Scout grade: 81. Four-star prospect.
Scout rankings: No. 60 in the ESPNU150, No. 9 receiver, No. 11 in Midlands Region, No. 1 in Oklahoma
Accolades: Under Armour All-American
Picked OU over: Oklahoma State, Clemson, Notre Dame, Missouri
State of the position: The Sooners need slot receivers, and more importantly, playmakers. Ryan Broyles is NFL-bound after catching more passes than anyone in FBS history. In the spread offense, receivers are like running backs, can never have too many.
Pros: “Has great focus, strong hands and his body control to adjust to poorly thrown balls (and he does this a lot) especially in the vertical passing game is extremely impressive. He can elevate, extend above his head and while he does not have great height, he plays like he does.” - ESPN analyst
Cons: “We still do not believe he has explosive, second gear speed yet no one seems to run him down. He is far more elusive than he is sudden, but will show a sneaky, very explosive burst after the catch and also out of the break as a route runner.” - ESPN analyst
Similar to/potential role: Trey Franks. Shepard would be ideal in a Franks-type role as a player who returns kickoffs and runs the ball on sweeps and quick passes. He also could be used to test the seams of a defense thanks to his ball skills and competitive nature.
Expected impact: 2012. His competitiveness makes it hard to believe he won’t find the field next fall. Shepard could provide a boost as a returner, receiver and be used in some special packages thanks to his running ability. Regardless he should help on special teams because he’s a great athlete who loves to compete, both traits of a special teams terrors. Shepard bulked up in preparation for college so a redshirt season is not required.